With the Mets and Cubs locked in a tense 1-1 tie in the bottom of the 8th, in the opener of the FSL Championship Series, Daytona shortstop Elliot Soto singled to drive in the go-ahead run. Soto would score later in the inning to give the Cubs a 3-1 victory, in the best-of-five game series.
The scoring in a nutshell for St. Lucie: LF Pedro Zapata led off the game with a single, promptly stole second, and moved onto third when C Chad Noble threw the ball away at second. He then came in to score on a single to RF by SS Wilmer Flores.
Both teams’ starting pitchers had to leave the game after a lengthy rain delay in the bottom of the 4th inning. Cubs starting pitcher LHP Casey Harman pitched the first four innings, giving up 1 run on 3 hits, while striking out 2. After the rain delay RHP Yoannis Negrin came on for Harman, and was untouchable, going 4 innings, giving up just one hit, and striking out 3, and getting the win. RHP Frank Batista came in and closed it out in the ninth for Daytona, to get the save.
RHP Armando Rodriguez started for St. Lucie, pitching 3.2 innings before the rains came. He gave up 3 hits and 2 BB’s, and 2 K’s. He was replaced by RHP John Church, who retired the side in the 4th, and pitched a scoreless 5th before running into trouble in the 6th. After two singles and a walk loaded the bases with one out, Elliot Soto hit a dribbler into no-mans land, Church fielded the ball but had no play at home, and was forced to get the out at first enabling the Cubs to tie the score 1-1.
LHP Eric Niesen came on to pitch a scoreless 7th, and was cruising through he 8th, getting the first two hitters, when CF Matthew Sczcur doubled to LF, Elliot Soto singled, scoring Sczcur with the winning run. Chad Noble then doubled to drive in Soto and make the score 3-1, which knocked Niesen out of the game. RHP Eric Beaulac came on to get the final out of the 8th, but the horses were out of the barn.
The hitting stars of the game for the Cubs was Elliot Soto who went: 1 for 3 with a walk, 1 run, and 2 RBI’s. 1B Justin Bour (pictured above) went 3 for 4, RF Michael Burgess went 2 for 3, with a walk.
Game Two of the best-of-five series is Saturday night in Daytona, starting at 7:05 pm. The probable pitchers are: 6’11″ RHP Scott Moviel for the Mets, and Cuban LHP Frank Del Valle for the Cubs.